Is there a cancer in Red Sox Spring Training Camp in Fort Myers this season? Not quite, but Coco Crisp expressed a desire to be traded if he couldn’t play every day with the Red Sox this season which isn’t likely given the emergence of Jacoby Ellsbury behind him.
“I want to play everyday,” Crisp said. “I think everybody wants to play everyday. If you don’t, I think there’s something wrong with you. I don’t want to sit on the bench. I can cheerlead with the best of them, but that’s not where I want to be, though.”
“I would honestly rather be somewhere else and play than be on the bench. I’ll take whatever comes and deal with it. It’s no knock against Boston. The fans have treated me well. It’s ultimately for myself. I think I can speak for anybody, you want to play. So whatever the best situation is for yourself to play is where you want to be.”
The Red Sox are clearly a better team with Elsbury’s offensive potential at the top of the lineup both this year and for years to come, but Coco’s value as a part time centerfielder/fourth outfielder isn’t replaced by Bobby Kielty or Brandon Moss. You can count me as surprised that Coco and a young pitcher weren’t dealt in a package for one of the top line starters that changed hands this off season (Johan Santana, Dan Haren, or Erik Bedard) already.
Coco’s recent comments to the media will play louder and more egregious when whistled through the Boston media. I hear Coco expressing frustration that he isn’t able to play every day and a desire to play every day. I don’t hear him disgruntled or upset that a young star is behind him. I do hear him saying the things that you would expect from someone who would like to compete. I did not hear him ask for a trade, yet. But I think he expressed a desire to play everyday and sees the writing on the wall that it won’t happen in front of Jacoby Ellsbury. I didn’t have a problem with anything Coco Crisp had to say.
However, assuming that Coco Crisp has to be dealt, what can the Red Sox expect back for him? What do they need back from him?
Coco’s skill set as a starting centerfielder, a very good fielder, and a potential top of the order batter is desirable, and so is his contract. But now that it’s clear that Coco won’t be happy if the season progresses with him on the bench, the Red Sox negotiating leverage has dropped. Please note, I don’t expect Coco to pull a Jay Payton during the season, but it’s clear that the Red Sox would like to move him in the right deal at this point.
The ideal situation would be for the Red Sox to find one of the following in return for Coco; (1) a #3 starter, (2) a set up man, or (3) a young catcher.
If possible, swinging a trade with the Rangers for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was acquired from the Atlanta Braves in the Mark Teixeira, would be a coup and solidify the post-Varitek era behind the plate for the next five to eight seasons. I would happily package George Kottaras, Coco Crisp, and a reliever in our farm system to make the gamble on “Salty”.
Other options include trying to match up with the A’s and Billy Beane for Joe Blanton. But to this point, Beane’s asking price has been out of touch with reality. But, throw in either Justin Duchscherer or Huston Street and some of the better talent on the farm becomes a realistic possibility.